Tag Archives: Caritas Pakistan

Making sense of All Saints massacre in Pakistan

7081_10150307486769975_1358319494_nBy Asenath Naeem

Communication Officer for Caritas Pakistan

It was a different feeling going for Mass this Sunday. My heart was still heavy after seeing images of blood spattered All Saints Church where twin suicide blasts killed 86 congregation members in Peshawar.

They were the same people like me, going for a regular mass with their families and friends. Nobody knew it was the last time they were meeting, I wondered.

Security has been tightened on the major churches across the country since then. However there were no security concerns at the church I attend in Bahar Colony, a predominantly Christian majority locality in Lahore. Located amid narrow streets, such small churches are often ranked lower in the government security plan.

To my surprise, the church building was jam packed with people. Together we all prayed for the souls of the deceased and for those wounded in the attack.

I wonder how terrible it is for the survivors who are badly injured, I wonder if they shed tears over their physical pain or over the loss of the lives they faced. It is true that Christian history is rich in having the blood of martyrs flowing from the day the Christianity originated till today, seeing these in real life is more painful.

Now I wonder how easy is it to kill the innocent for any noble cause what so ever and what is the worth of blood. Does any amount of compensation justifies the worth of martyr’s blood.

Perhaps not. As a Pakistani Christian, I take comfort in believing that the blood of martyrs is the seed of Church. And I pray that this seed helps to blossom the faith of those who are alive , I also pray that this seed may calm the violent protesters making them realize that to reply violence with violence is not the Christian spirit and I pray that Love of Christ abounds in the hearts and binds the Christian community in perfect harmony . Amen !

This story was originally published by Caritas Pakistan

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Earthquake in Pakistan

image002By Amjad Gulzar, Executive Director, Caritas Pakistan

An earthquake of 7.8 magnitude struck Balochistan in Pakistan on September 24, 2013 at 4:29pm (Pakistan Time).

Balochistan government spokesman Jan Mohammad Buledi  confirmed Wednesday morning that 216 people have died and at least 373 people were injured.

Furthermore, the deaths of seven more people were reported from Turbat city in Kech district of Balochistan. The earthquake affected six districts in the province and that Awaran was the worst affected district other districts include Kech, Gwadar, Khuzdar, Chaghi, Awaran and Panjgoor. “An emergency has been imposed in all districts to help the earthquake survivors.

“Over 80 per cent mud-houses have collapsed or have been badly damaged in Awaran,” said Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Mohammad, adding that casualties and losses in several remote areas had also been reported but rescue teams had not been able to reach those places till late in the night.

Awaran Deputy Commissioner, Rashid Baloch said almost all houses and shops in the town and nearby villages had been destroyed or damaged. He said at least 19 people had died in the town, while reports of losses from remote areas were yet to be received. “We have started to bury the dead,” Abdul Rasheed Gogazai, the deputy commissioner of Awaran, told Reuters by telephone from the affected area.

Earthquake was so powerful that it caused a small island to emerge from the sea just off the coastline in the Arabian Sea. On the coast near Gwadar port, crowds of bewildered residents gathered to witness the rare phenomenon of the island that the quake forced out of the sea.

Government response

The army deployed helicopters and hundreds of soldiers to help deal with the rescue effort in the huge, earthquake-prone province of deserts and rugged mountains bordering Iran and Afghanistan. The government of Balochistan has dispatched 1000 tents, 500 food bags, medicines, 15 ambulances towards Awaran, Jan Buledi, the spokesman for Balochistan government.

A large number of injured people had been taken to the Khuzdar Civil Hospital and teams of doctors and paramedics had been sent to the affected areas from Lasbela and other districts. In response to a question about demanding foreign aid, he said, “after assessing the damages, we would make the decision in this regard.”

Caritas Pakistan involvement so far

Caritas Pakistan team led by Mr. Nisar Mushtaq Disaster Management Coordinator diocesan unit has left for Awaran. The diocesan office has conducted meeting with Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Balochistan is coordinating with other districts officials affected by the earthquake.

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Another year and more floods in Pakistan

Flooding in Pakistan has caused widespread devastation for the third year in a row. Credit: Caritas Pakistan

Flooding in Pakistan has caused widespread devastation for the third year in a row. Credit: Caritas Pakistan

Heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan have destroyed thousands of homes, roads, bridges and farms for the third year in a row. The 2010 floods were the worst in recent history, with a fifth of the country underwater. The 2011 and 2012 floods also caused damage across vast areas. Caritas Pakistan Executive Director Amjad Gulzar says that the current situation is already worse than the last two years.

With more heavy rain expected over the coming weeks, the situation may get much worse. Caritas staff members are on the ground working with people in need.

Read an interview with Amjad Gulzar followed by a radio interview with Andrew Schaefer, the Country Representative for CRS Pakistan.

What has been the impact of the floods?
The whole country experienced a second spell of the monsoon from 31 July to 4 August. The heavy showers triggered flash floods in different parts and caused widespread loss and damage, leaving an impact on habitat, daily life, livelihoods and transport. Continue reading

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Earthquake in Iran Pakistan

By Amjad Gulzar, Executive Director Caritas Pakistan

A strong earthquake of 7.8 magnitude hit Pakistan at 15.44 hours (10.44 GMT ) today. The tremors were felt in Islamabad, Lahore, Abbottabad, Peshawar, Hyderabad, Quetta, Multan, Kohat, Hangu, Bannu, Dir and many other areas across Pakistan.

According to Pakistan Meteorological Department the latitude of earthquake was 26.65 North and longitude was 61.60 East with its epicenter in Southern Iran near the Pakistan Iran Boarder.

The tremors spreading panic among the people who came out of their houses for safety. The epicenter is said to be in Iran The worst affected areas in Pakistan is Mashki some 580 Km from Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan in the south west of Pakistan. Travel time from Quetta to Mashaki is around 15-16 hours by road.

Till about an hour back 21 deaths had been reported and over 100 injured in the city of about 30000-35000 population. There is a fear of more causalities as around 70% of the houses have been collapsed and undeveloped area with mostly mud houses.

Being a bordering area of Iran and Pakistan and having Frontier Constabulary (FC) check post there, immediate relief work is being carried out by FC. A camp has been set up and the doctors from FC are providing medical assistance. There are also reports of shortage of medicines.

Caritas Pakistan is getting more information and in coordination with Provincial Disaster Managment Authority – Baluchistan.

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Five million people affected by downpours in Pakistan

A heavy downpour in the last twenty-four hours has caused further flooding in Sindh in southern Pakistan as  monsoon rains affect 4.9 million. Flooding in Baluchistan is causing further misery.

In some of the worst affected areas of Sindh, 166mm of rain fell in a day. Over one million houses have been damaged so far.

Floods in Pakistan in the summer of 2010 were the worst in 80 years.

One-fifth of the country lay underwater, 18 million people struggled to find food and water and to keep a roof over their heads. Sindh was one of the worst affected parts of the country.

Caritas Pakistan’s National Coordinator for disaster Management Eric Dayal said earlier by phone that the current flooding in Sindh was almost the same in severity as last year.

Badin escaped flooding last year, but has been particularly badly hit in 2011. The district administration has set up 142 relief camps at different points to accommodate more than 40,000 displaced people.

Caritas responded last year with food, shelter and medical help.  Caritas spent over US$10.6 million (7.5 million euro) in the first five months alone.

UPDATE: Caritas Pakistan was on the ground since the onset of the emergency. Caritas Pakistan response is focusing on Badin and Tatha in Sindh, Kasur, Mian Chanon, Ranjanpur and Bahwalpur in Punjab.

The diocese of Hyderabad has already distributed 400 tents and 400 food packages. The diocese of Lahore has distributed food packages and has conducted medical camps in Kasur; 500 patients have been treated so far while a total of 2,000 patients have visited the medical camps organised by Caritas Pakistan.

The diocese of Multan has distributed 300 tents and food packages.

Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Michel Roy is travelling to Pakistan on 17 September for one year anniversary commemorations of the 2010 flooding.

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Caritas Pakistan shares joys with flood victims

Haji Suleman and his family. Credit: Kamran Chaudhry/Caritas Pakistan

By Kamran Chaudhry, Communications officer Caritas Pakistan

Jan 28 was a day with a difference for flood victims like Haji Suleman in a relief camp of Karachi , the southern metropolis.

The thumping of a platter gathered jubilant girls adorned in make-up and smiling children at Suleman’s camp as the sounds of merrymaking grew louder. Between the crowd, he sat crossed legged rhythmically moving his arms at the beat. Continue reading

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Caritas Pakistan celebrates its 45th anniversary

By Kamran Chaudhry, Communications officer, Caritas Pakistan

As the country deals with the worst floods in decades, Caritas Pakistan observes 45 years of humanitarian efforts for the indigenous.

The staff of Caritas Pakistan National Secretariat marked Dec. 8 event with prayers at National office in Lahore. The solemn ceremony saw supplications for commitment to the mission and prayers for the flood victims. The United Nations department of Humanitarian Affairs says high level of malnutrition, as high as 40 percent in some parts of the country, are being observed. Continue reading

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